Naperville’s Riverwalk Adult Day Services celebrates 40th Anniversary

Donate Today Buy This Video

“They come every day. They’re smiling. We do our hugs and our high fives, and I find out what happened the night before or over the weekend. And even when they can’t remember, it’s the fact that they know somebody is asking them and giving them some sense of control in their life when they have so little based on their diagnosis,” said Riverwalk Adult Day Services Executive Director Jennifer Brasfield.

Riverwalk Adult Day Services is a non-profit organization that, for four decades, has served adults and seniors who can’t be left home alone due to cognitive decline. 

“In our facility, we try to make it as home-like as possible so that the participants are relaxed and are enjoying their time,” said Brasfield.

Importance of adult day care for home caregivers

It’s a service that’s more and more critical; as Brasfield says, 65% of home caregivers end up having their own medical issues or passing away.

“There’s a lot of stress in caregiving, especially for somebody that is going through cognitive decline. There’s the physical stress of helping them clothe themselves, shower, go to the bathroom. There’s the mental stress of changes in roles,” said Brasfield.

This year, Riverwalk Adult Day Services celebrates its 40th anniversary. It started with one woman’s need for help with a loved one.

“So in 1983, there was a younger woman, Evy Schum, who was really looking to try to meet with a Bible study group, a group from her parish, in order to reconnect with this group spiritually. But she had to give care for a spouse, and she couldn’t bring her spouse there. So she got a group of an ecumenical group of churches together and explored the idea of having an adult day service center so that people could have leisure activities without having to care for their spouse at the time,” said Riverwalk Adult Day Services Board Director Marian Stricker.

Named Ecumenical Adult Care, its first location was at Grace United Methodist Church. In 1989 it outgrew that space and moved to the old Nichols Library, but shortly afterward, in 1991, it moved to its current home at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center.

Riverwalk Adult Day Services fundraiser to help begin a new program

In 2018, the facility was refurbished, allowing them to provide services for seniors and adults of all ages with cognitive issues. Now, as they celebrate 40 years, they are adding to their offerings yet again, launching a new program for adults 18 to 59 aging out of the school systems with special needs.

“We are on our way to satisfying all three of the criteria that we need to launch the program on September 5. And the only thing we need is for people to come to our fundraiser and help us successfully launch this program,” said Stricker.

That fundraiser will take place at Aspen Lake Winery in Aurora on Saturday, August 19. Brasfield is looking forward to the event, as the proceeds will help them continue to make a difference.

“These services do exist, and it’s very helpful for the participant, but it’s also helpful for the caregiver. And the sooner you have your loved one start the center, the better off they are in the long run, and the longer that they can stay at home.”

If you have a story idea, we want to hear from you!